by Justin A. Saporito, Law Clerk
Aramid Entertainment Fund, Limited filed for Chapter 11 protection in the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York on June 13, 2014. Debtor has declared assets of $237.3 million and consolidated debt of $11.5 million. Debtor was assigned case number 1:14-bk-11802, a judge has yet to be assigned. Approximately 96 creditors were listed in the petition; among them are several other Aramid entities including Aramid Liquidating Trust, Ltd. and Aramid Entertainment, Inc. which jointly filed with the Debtor and were assigned consecutive case numbers.
Aramid Entertainment Fund, Limited is part of Aramid Capital Partners, LLP, a London based hedge fund that specializes in financing movies. According to their website, Aramid Capital has provided financing for thirty-two (32) movies including Paranormal Activity, W., and How to Lose Friends & Alienate People. Please click here for a list of their productions.
Debtor filed for Chapter 11 protection due to the cost of ongoing litigation against several of its borrowers who failed to repay loans or violated film-financing agreements. One such suit began in February 2012 and is over an alleged $44 million in losses. Debtor invested $22 million in a financing deal between Relativity Media, LLC and Sony Pictures. Debtor alleges that executives from Fortress Investment Group, LLC used Aramid’s confidential information, which was allegedly obtained during a 2010 portfolio review as part of a proposed purchase of Debtor’s assets, to make a deal with Sony that destroyed Debtor’s investments.
BY: Katie Imler, Law Clerk
On July 26, 2013 , TAM of Allegheny LLC d/b/a Stonefront Witch Way Inn filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the Western District of Pennsylvania (assigned No. 13-23143-GLT). The Stone Front Witch Way Inn, located at 2827 California Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15212, was a local café and bar that was padlocked by police on June 28, 2013 for not paying the Allegheny County drink taxes totaling more than $22,390. The Allegheny County Treasurer, John Weinstein, has been cracking down on businesses that are not paying the alcoholic beverage tax.
The case has been assigned to the Honorable Judge Gregory L. Taddonio. Norma Hildenbrand has filed an Notice of Appearance and Request for Notice on behalf of the United States Trustee. A summary of the docket can be found here.
The Debtor listed $50,000-$100,000 in Assets and $0-$50,000 in Liabilities, which are primarily business debts. Although there are less than 50 creditors, the top creditors holding unsecured claims include: Allegheny County ($21,864), BMI ($658.07), Chase Bank ($2,723.39), Dietz Electronics, Inc. ($438.98), IRS ($8,058.44), Joseph J. Brunner, Inc. ($407.80), and Trudy L. Schmitt, President of TAM of Allegheny LLC. All Schedules and Attorney Disclosures are due on August 9, 2013. The Chapter 11 Plan and Disclosure Statements are due November 25, 2013. However, the Government Proof of Claims Bar Date is set for January 22, 2014.
The Debtor is represented by J. Michael Baggett of McCann Garland Ridall & Burke, 11 Stanwix Street, Suite 1030, Pittsburgh PA, 15222. Jodi L. Hause filed a Notice of Appearance on July 29, 2013 to represent Creditor Duquesne Light Company. A Status Conference will be held on October 20, 2013 at 10:00am.
BY: Katie Imler
On July 26, 2013 Beulah Road Land Company filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the Western District of Pennsylvania (Case No. 2:13-bk-23148). The Debtor, located at 800 Beulah Road, Pittsburgh, Pa 15235, is the new majority owner of the land on which the Churchill Valley Country Club sits. The Debtor has been fighting with creditors of the club, as to who owns the 147-acre property. These creditors forced Churchill Valley Country Club into a Chapter 7 bankruptcy (Case No. 13-23122 filed July 25, 2013). At the same time, Zokaites Properties, Inc. recently purchased the outstanding $1.2 million mortgage held on the club and property from PNC Bank. A local lawyer and ex-business partner of Zokaites is challenging this transfer.
The Beulah bankruptcy case has been assigned to the Honorable Judge Carlota M. Bohm. In the petition signed by the Debtor’s President Richard Hersberger, the Debtor listed $1-$10 million in assets and $1-$10 million in liabilities. All Schedules are due August 9, 2013. The Chapter 11 Plan and Disclosure Statement are due November 25, 2013. On August 1, 2013, creditor Zokaites Properties, Inc. by and through its attorney Jeffrey Hulton, made a motion to dismiss the bankruptcy case. There will be a hearing regarding the motion to dismiss on August 9, 2013 at 3:00pm.
The largest creditors include several law firms, the Penn Hills School District, PNC Bank, and the Woodland Hill School District.
The Debtor is represented by Donald R. Calaiaro of Calaiaro & Corbett, P.C. located at 310 Grant Street, Suite 1105, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. The US Trustee is represented by Norma Hildenbrand located at Suite 970 Liberty Center, 1001 Liberty Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15222.
Settlers Ridge No. 3, L.P. files for Chapter 11
By Katie Imler, Law Clerk
On May 13, 2013, StonePepper’s Grill, formally known as Settlers Ridge No. 3, L.P., of 1738 North Highland Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15241 filed a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in the Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, assigned Case No. 13-22082-CMB. The case has been assigned to the Honorable Judge Carlota M. Bohm.
StonePepper’s Grill is a restaurant that serves brick-oven pizza and won the 2012 Best Burger in Upper St. Clair Contest. The restaurant chain has three (3) locations in Upper Saint Clair, Mars, and Robinson Township. The only location effected by this filing is the Robinson Township location. Counsel for the Debtor is Robert O. Lampl, located at 960 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Lampl’s disclosed hourly rate is $400/hour.
A summary of the docket for the case can be viewed here.
The Debtor has elected to be considered a “small business debtor, ” defined under Bankruptcy Code § 101(51D)(A) as a person engaged in commercial or business activities who as of the date of petition filing or order of relief has an aggregate non-contingent liquidated secured and unsecured debts in an amount not more than $2,000,000.00 (excluding debts owed to 1 or more affiliates or insiders). See also Bankruptcy Code § 1116. The bankruptcy filing showed liabilities and assets between $100,000.00 -$500,000.00. The Debtor listed the largest unsecured debts as $93,940.00 in Employer Withholding, $78,775.00 in Loans to owner Jeff Joyce, $77,535.00 in PA Sales Tax, and $38,465.00 in Business Debt to CRK Management LLC, who also employs Jeff Joyce. It also has a Business Debt of $77,613.00 payable to Settlers Ridge Leased, LP.
A hearing will take place on June 25, 2013 in regards to confirmation of employing Debtor’s counsel. The Chapter 11 Small Business Plan and Disclosure Statement are due November 12, 2013.
By: Katie Imler, Law Clerk
On May 21, 2013, Cooper-Booth Management Company, Inc. a full-line, full-service wholesale distributor for retailers and convenience stores, filed for a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Case No. 2:13-bk-14522). The company began in 1865 as Booth Tobacco Company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Being family owned and operated for three generations, Cooper-Booth has been recognized as one of the Top 20 leading convenience store wholesales in the country. Murton Margolis is Emeritus and Barry Margolis is President.
Cooper-Booth, located at 200 Lincoln West Drive, Mountville, PA 17554 listed assets of $500,000-$1 million and liabilities of $10-$50 million, enumerating over 200 creditors . See summary of the docket here. Schedules are due June 4, 2013. The Debtor is represented by Aris J. Karalis and Robert W. Seitzer of Maschmeyer Karalis P.C., 1900 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103. Cooper-Booth’s largest creditors include Maryland Comptroller of the Treasury-Alcohol & Tobacco Tax ($7,438,500.00), PA Department of Revenue ($3,330,768.00), New York State Department of Tax & Finance Division of Treasury ($3,140,324.74), Delaware Division of Revenue ($1,563,285.93).
The federal government has frozen the Debtor’s bank accounts while an investigation is pending to determine if one of the Debtor’s customers has been illegally smuggling untaxed cigarettes into New York. Basel Ramadan and his brother, Samer Ramadan, bought cigarettes from the Debtor Cooper Booth Wholesale Inc. using business fronts in Virginia allowing them to pay the $0.30/pack Virginia cigarette tax instead of the $4.35/pack cigarette tax in New York.
The two moved 20,000 cigarettes a week to the New York City area without paying the New York taxes, which cost the state approximately $80 million in taxes. See more on the story here.
The Debtor’s case was initially assigned to the Honorable Judge Eric L. Frank, but was reassigned to the Honorable Judge Magdeline D. Coleman. On May 22, 2013 Judge Coleman issued an order demanding timely filing of all Schedules. Judge Coleman also entered an order directing the joint administration of Debtors’ Chapter 11 Cases 13-14522 and 13-14521 pursuant to Bankruptcy Code § 1015(b), determining 13-14519 as the lead case. The Debtor’s second voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy was for Cooper-Booth Transportation Company, LP (Case No. 2:13-bk-14521), which listed $1-$10 million in both assets and liabilities. Most of the liabilities are for state and federal taxes.